Conspiracy Everywhere! And Me Without a Spoon.

Last weekend, I was listening to "Science Friday" with Ira Flatow as usual (I love "Science Friday" with Ira Flato). The subject was influenza with a heavy dose of H1N1. Not the most riveting topic in my opinion, but I was faithful nonetheless and it paid off when a women called in with this delightful question, here is the transcript:

JEAN (Caller): Oh, hi. Yeah. This sounds very complex... And I wondered - what about these rumors that we'll be required to be vaccinated or else relocated to some kind of interment camp? And if they did have this, can you have a religious exemption or


FLATOW: That must come in with the death panels rumor, somewhere.

(Soundbite of laughter)

The best part of this, in my opinion, is that she wasn't questioning the validity of this nutty rumor as much as whether she could "have a religious exemption or something?" I joined Flatow and his guest in a hearty, yet forlorn laugh.

The weird thing is that when I hear these inane conspiracy theories - Obama's death camps, health care reform is Nazism, Government internment camps for the unvaccinated - I try to understand them. I am curious as to what the women who asked Barney Frank why he supported Obama's Nazi policy really thinks (see video below). What is her thought process? Does she think that Hitler started out with getting the entire German population affordable health care and then casually move on to massive genocide? Do conservatives like Sarah Palin really believe that Stephen Hawking would be put to death if he lived in the U.K. (by the way, he does live in the U.K.)? If so, on what does she base this?

I really am always curious about the logic of these people's claim. I want to understand it. But I don't think that this is a proper response to such wild and baseless absurdities. I should probably just nod, smile, die a little inside, and move on, hoping that the fear and paranoia that fuels these lurid conspiracies will gradually subside in the absence of any supporting evidence. Of course, that is probably a hope that will constantly disappoint. Maybe I'll just get a bit more cynical.

1 comment:

Reuben S said...

...well I'm being followed by men in silver suits and guns. Whadaya think about that smarty pants?